The federal judge in New York who will preside over U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial denied a defense plea to postpone jury selection from May to July on Thursday.
Judge Sidney H. Stein’s order maintains the New Jersey Democrat’s May 5 trial date in Manhattan, along with his wife and three New Jersey businesspeople.
All have pleaded not guilty to charges that they were involved in a bribery scheme that netted the senator and his wife cash, gold bars, and a luxury automobile. Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen have also pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring to use the senator illegally as an agent of the Egyptian government.
Lawyers for Menendez argued earlier this month that they need more time to prepare for trial, in part because they’ve been given over 6.7 million papers to comb through and because the case’s complexity necessitates resolving legal concerns that may take decades to resolve.
Prosecutors objected to the motion, claiming that when the trial date was set in the fall, they notified defense lawyers that the evidence they would turn over would be extensive and that nothing has changed since then.
Stein agreed with prosecutors in his ruling, stating that the evidence turned over to defense lawyers was consistent with the quantity of information the government had anticipated would be included in the trial.
Following his detention in September, the senator resigned as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has refused to step down from his Senate seat.
Menendez’s lawyers declined to comment on Stein’s order in an email on Thursday.